Choosing to rebrand your business is a big decision! If you’re considering a rebrand, make sure you have the right reasons.
Rebranding is complicated, and often times it carries big risks. Ultimately, knowing the risks of rebranding can help you determine whether or not you’re going into a rebrand for the right reasons.
If you’re looking at rebranding your business, because sales have been slow or your marketing efforts don’t seem to be paying off… pump the breaks! You might want to reconsider it.
Rebranding is a reset. Do you really need to alter the course of your business to fix your marketing issues?
If you’re considering a rebrand because your company’s vision, mission, values, and strategy are no longer reflected in your brand, then a rebrand might be the right decision.
If you’re going to do it, do it right!
When You Should Rebrand
Choosing to rebrand is strategic, and there are a lot of reasons why you might consider rebranding:
- New Locations: You might need to refresh your brand if you’re expanding to international markets that won’t identify with your current logo, brand name, or core messaging.
- Market Repositioning: Brands are designed to connect with their customers. If you reposition your business to target a new customer profile — whether through product, place, or price — your brand will need to follow suit.
- New Strategy: If your business model changes, your brand may need to be updated to match it.
- Competition: A new competitor can redefine your space and change your value proposition.
- Trademark Issues: As a brand expands it can enter new markets and face new problems with its brand name.
- Mergers and Acquisitions: When two companies come together, two brands come together. If your company was acquired or is joining with another, you can’t just let both brands battle it out.
Why You Should Not Rebrand
Rebranding is a big deal. Here are a few reasons why you should not rebrand:
- Boredom: Too often people consider a rebrand because they’re sick of seeing the same logo and slogan every day. When you’re starting to feel restless with your brand, remember that your customers (who see it much less frequently) might love that signature color that you’ve come to loathe.
- Covering Up a Crisis: Whether you’re working against persistent internal issues or fending off bad press, a rebrand isn’t always the answer. Most consumers and employees are smart enough to see right through your rebrand and recognize it for what it is — a cover up.
- Impact and Ego: For new managers, a rebrand might seem like the fastest way to make your mark. But most new managers aren’t implementing the kind of institutional change that justifies a rebrand. More often than not, new leadership that insists on a rebrand is doing it more for themselves than for the company.
- Looking for Attention: Maybe sales have been floundering, or perhaps brand awareness efforts aren’t picking up, but either way, jumping into a rebrand is the wrong move.
You Don’t Have to Change Everything!
The more established your business and brand are, the more you have to lose from a rebrand.
If your business is more mature, a partial rebrand can help you retain the brand loyalty you’ve built, while refreshing your image to keep up with changing times.
However, if you’re undergoing a complete identity shift and your company’s mission, vision, and strategy are changing — a total rebrand might be in order. This option is typically suited to situations like mergers and acquisitions, product overhauls, and other similar seismic shifts.
Here, everything is on the table: from your name to your purpose, to your market, or to your brand identity.
If a partial rebrand is a quick touch up, the total rebrand is a complete makeover.
How to Approach a Rebrand
Once you’ve determined whether you need a partial or total rebrand, take a look at the following five steps you’ll want to implement to successfully rebrand.
1. Reestablish your brand’s audience and market.
After extensive market research, including focus groups and analyzing the data, you’ve noticed something startling — your customers (or competitors) aren’t who you thought they were.
Take a look at who’s actually buying from you — and who they’re buying from, instead of you. Comparing this against your initial target market and audience might reveal some stark differences.
Once you’ve established your actual market and audience, you’re ready to start rebranding your company to connect with your customers (and outsmart your competitors).
2. Redefine your company’s vision, mission, and values.
What are you doing? How are you doing it? Why are you doing it?
When you’re re-evaluating your vision, mission, and values during a rebrand, these are the three questions you’ll need to ask yourself. While it’s easy to take your value proposition for granted, it can change as a company grows.
This is a big one. Vision acts as the North Star for every action your company undertakes. It’s critical you have a firm understanding of your vision before moving forward. Perhaps overtime your vision has changed. That’s okay, but it’s vital you redefine it as quickly as possible to ensure all of your employees aligned and moving in the same direction.
Your values act as the why behind your brand. They’re why you’re working towards your vision, and why you’re dedicated to your mission.
If you can’t support your old values or you’ve come to prioritize new ones, you’ll need to update them to reflect what your company actually values today.
As your vision, and strategy change while rebranding, the way you convey these aspects of your company will also have to change. The words, tone, and voice you use for your brand has to match your message. So, if what you’re saying is changing, how you’re saying it will need to change, as well.
3. Rename your company during a rebrand.
So, if you’re renaming your company as part of your rebrand, make sure you have a plan for recovery as part of your post-rebrand strategy.
4. Rebuild your brand identity.
The tangible elements you use to communicate your brand might have been in play for a few years by the time you start considering a rebrand. This means you’ve likely had plenty of time to reconsider your brand’s strengths and weaknesses before updating it.
Maybe you loved your logo when you first started your company, but you’re finding your customers never really seemed to “get it.” Alternatively, perhaps your logo needs a refresh to reflect the other major changes you’ve made internally.
Look to the long term. As fun as rebrands might seem, you don’t want to do this every year. So really look at your vision, mission, values, and purpose and consider whether this new logo can support them in the long run.
Building New Brand Guidelines
If you’re going to go through all the trouble of creating a new brand identity for your business, you better make sure you use it correctly. Having (and actually using) brand guidelines will help you keep your brand consistent after the transition.
Brand guidelines are especially critical for logos. Logo guidelines are designed to make it as easy as possible for customers to see, recognize, and remember your logo — making up for any lost familiarity that comes with a rebrand.
Here are a few elements to consider when writing your logo guidelines:
- Logo Elements. What visual elements make up your logo? When and how are each of them used?
- Color Variations. What does the colored version of your logo look like? What about black and white? When are each of these used?
- Unacceptable Uses. What can never be done to your logo? What color variations, rotations, or scaling do you want to avoid?
You’ll want to have your guidelines on hand if you’re doing a website redesign, creating a rebrand campaign, or creating other marketing materials.
At its best, a rebrand can act as an incentive to remain consistent and on-brand in all your marketing efforts moving forward — something that can slip in businesses over time.
Are You Ready to Rebrand?
Whether you end up going with a logo redesign, a website redesign, some refreshed messaging or a complete brand overhaul. These steps can help you to consider your best strategy for building a brand that gets it right this time. Feeling overwhelmed? We’re here to help!